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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mashed Butternut Squash and Potatoes w/ Roasted Garlic, Smoked Gouda & Bacon

Mashed Butternut Squash and Potatoes w/ Roasted Garlic, Smoked Gouda & Bacon
There was a time when I did all of my potato-mashing by hand...and then I discovered the hand mixer method. At first I was resistant, perhaps even a little indignant. I gave my friend the cautious side-eye as she plunged the beaters into a pot of drained potatoes. I'd been mashing potatoes with the pure power of my arm for 22 years (okay, I didn't mash potatoes straight out of the womb, but it was close), why did I need a machine to do it for me?

I didn't say anything then, I just tucked that novel idea into my back pocket for another day. You know, a day when I actually owned a hand mixer. Fast forward a few years to dinner preparation in my own kitchen, steam rising up from a giant pot of potatoes that were ready to be mashed with warm butter and milk.

As I rummaged around in my utensil drawer looking for my masher, the memory of that day in my friend's kitchen slipped out of my back pocket. I shoved everything back into the drawer and reached for my (very own) hand mixer instead. Any doubts I had about taking this shortcut were put to rest as those chunks blended into a pile of glorious, fluffy comfort food.
OXO Illuminated Hand-Mixer
I've gone through a couple of hand mixers since that day. They may be the workhorse of my kitchen. While I do have a stand mixer that I love, I don't love having to lug it up from its spot in the basement just to use it (small kitchen, no counter space). So, if I have a task that I can use my hand mixer for instead, you can bet that I will. Let's not talk about times I've tried to use a hand mixer when I really shouldn't have.

I was recently offered the chance to test out OXO's Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer, and since my current hand mixer had seen better days (something was rattling around on the inside), I couldn't say yes fast enough. This mixer comes with both balloon beaters and dough hooks which is great for mixing up different types of batters and dough. But guess what else it's great for—making different textures of mashed potatoes and other vegetables!

The balloon beaters are great for making a very smooth and fluffy puree, but if you want yours a little chunkier, think outside the box and use the dough hooks to beat up that tender veg. While the hooks still break down the chunks, the end result is a more rustic  mash, sort of like you'd get if you'd fished that old masher out of the utensil drawer—only easier.
Mashed Butternut Squash and Potatoes w/ Roasted Garlic, Smoked Gouda & Bacon
Today I'm sharing a recipe for a mashed butternut squash side dish that is so good you may just forget about the main course. While I like plain mashed squash, it can be a bit loose and runny for my taste. By adding a little bit of potato to the mix, you get a more substantial mash; one that holds its own and doesn't get all soupy and run into the other food on your plate, making it soggy.

I've added some bold flavors to the mix with roasted garlic cloves and the smokiness of both bacon and smoked Gouda cheese. The smattering of sage at the end is optional, but if you have a few sage leaves available, don't skip this step! Although I don't like to toot my own horn, I have to tell you that this stuff is AMAZING. Like, beyond delicious. It was so good that it brought tears to my eyes (and if you know me, you know that's not a joke).

It would be the perfect addition to any meal, but if I'm being completely honest, it would probably overshadow everything else on the table. So yeah, go ahead and make something boring serve with it, because you won't remember whatever it was anyway.

Mashed Butternut Squash and Potatoes w/ Roasted Garlic, Smoked Gouda & Bacon
Mashed butternut squash and potatoes with smoked gouda and bacon plus roasted garlic combine to make a side dish so amazing that you may forget about the entree.
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Mashed Butternut Squash and Potatoes w/ Roasted Garlic, Smoked Gouda & Bacon
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: side nut-free soy-free sugar-free bacon cheese potatoes squash Christmas Thanksgiving American fall winter

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 1 small (2 1/2 to 3 pound) butternut squash
  • 1 pound russet potatoes
  • olive oil, just a little for drizzling
  • 4 roasted garlic cloves (see notes)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream, warm
  • 6 ounces shredded Smoked Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 6 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and any stringy bits. Rub the cut sides with a drizzle of olive oil and place on lined baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until very soft. Let sit at room temperature until it has cooled down enough to handle, but is still warm.

After the squash has been in the oven for 30 minutes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Add the potatoes to boiling water and cook until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and then put the potatoes back into the pot.
Using the OXO Illuminated Hand-Mixer for easy mashed veg
Scoop the squash puree out of the skins and put it and the roasted garlic in the pot with the drained potatoes. Turn the heat on as low as you can get it. Add the warmed milk, butter, 4 ounces of the cheese, salt, and pepper to the pot and using a hand-mixer, blend until it is as smooth as you like it (of course you can do this by hand, as well).
Use the dough hooks to make chunky mashed veg
Transfer to a serving dish and scatter with the crumbled bacon, remaining cheese, and sage (if using).

If you don't have any roasted garlic cloves around, you can add 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic to the baking sheet with the butternut squash. Drizzle them with a little olive oil, as well. Check them after 20 minutes in the oven and if they feel soft, remove them from the oven and set aside until needed. If not, check again in a few minutes. Do not leave them in the oven for the whole hour as they will cook (and burn) and waste away to nothing. Just squeeze the garlic from its skin when cool enough and use as directed.
Mashed Butternut Squash and Potatoes w/ Roasted Garlic, Smoked Gouda & Bacon

OXO Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer
OXO Illuminating Digital Hand Mixer ($79.99): Monitor what you're mixing with the soft-glow LED headlight while the powerful DC motor holds consistent speed through even thick batter. Soft-touch controls and clear LED display for seamless and precise adjustments in mixing speed with a backlit indicator. Eject the beaters with a simple push for cleaning and then store on board. Flat base allows for easy resting and compact, upright storage. Cord swivels and snaps into either side of the mixer, then wraps around body and secures with a clip for compact storage. Includes set of two stainless steel balloon beaters and two stainless steel dough hooks.

I received a complimentary mixer for the purposes of testing and review. All opinions stated in this post are my own.